Quality Manual

Academic Progression and Award Regulations

The University changed some of the Undergraduate academic progression and award regulations These changes came into effect in the 2015/16 academic year for students who are entering Qualifying year or Part I of their programmes from September 2015.

These changes were  approved by relevant University Committees applying a set of principles relating to academic rigour, consistency and simplicity. These ensure that:

  1. Student assessment outcomes are driven by the demonstration (or otherwise) of the achievement of the module and programme learning outcomes;
  2. Standards students must meet for their progression and awards are comparable with those operating in other Russell Group institutions;
  3. Facilitate compliance with any Professional, Statutory or  Regulatory body (PSRB) requirements;
  4. Ensure students achieve the highest level of award commensurate with their assessed performance;
  5. Treat students fairly in comparison to students at other Russell Group institutions, other students at the University of Nottingham, and other students on their programme of study;
  6. Avoid variation between disciplines except where these arise from applying other APAR principles;
  7. Allow the consequences of different levels of assessment performance to be readily comprehended, explained and communicated, both by students and staff of the University.

Students on three year programmes entering Part II and students on four year programmes entering Part II or Part III in the 2015/16 academic year were not disadvantaged by the changes implemented. We ran  parallel calculations using the new standardised weightings (unless a PSRB exemption applies) and borderline algorithms and  awards  were made using the better of the two outcomes.

What were the changes?

Method by which degrees are classified

Instead of classification being based on more than one Model, undergraduate degree classification will be based upon the weighted mean mark achieved over identified stages (Part I, Part II and, if relevant Part III) with standardised weightings given to the stage being considered – Arithmetic mean.

Standardisation of stage weightings for final degree mark

The standardised weighting for the stages of a Bachelor degree will be 33/67 for Parts I and II respectively, and the standardised weighting for an Integrated Master’s degree (undergraduate) will be 20/40/40 for Parts I, II and III respectively.  Some programmes may need to be exempt from this if there is a PSRB requirement.  If this applies information will be available in the relevant programme specification.

Standardisation of borderline algorithms

Classification borderlines will be based on the overall rounded average mark (credit and stage weighted).  Borderline overall averages will be as follows:

2:1–1st          68, 69

2:2-2:1         58, 59

3rd-2:2          48, 49

A student should be given the higher class if either of the following criteria are met:

  • Half or more of the final stage credits are in the higher class;
  • Half or more of the final and penultimate stage credits are in the higher class

Changes to the Ordinary degree pathway

Transfer to an Ordinary degree pathway is no longer allowed in the UK, UNNC or in Malaysia;

Award of an Ordinary degree for students who fail to meet Honours requirements is allowed in the UK and UNNC but in not Malaysia (this is because of the requirements set out by the Malaysia Qualifications Agency (MQA).

Students who were transferred to the Ordinary degree programme before the start of the 2015/16 academic year will continue on that programme of study. 

Progression Criteria for Integrated Masters Programmes 

A University-wide single enhanced requirement will be applied to the progression hurdle from stage 2 to stage 3 of an Integrated Masters programme (i.e. normally between year 2 and year 3). 

In order to remain on an Integrated Masters programme in cases where an enhanced progression requirement is in place, a student must achieve a weighted average mark of at least 55% at the first attempt.  No other additional progression requirements will be permitted at any stage unless there is a specific stated external requirement (PSRB), in which case this should be detailed in the programme specification.

Exemptions will be approved through QSC using the form which will be available through Workspace.

Proceeding Carrying Credits

The norm will be that a student can proceed carrying credits if they have not progressed by September as opposed to this being a School decision as currently.  As now, the student will only be allowed to carry 20 credits of fail.

There will be the ability for a programme specification to allow an opt-out as there are a number of scenarios where it might be impossible or unwise to allow a student to proceed carrying credits.  Possible circumstances that might preclude it include:

  • 2+2 programme students coming from China and Malaysia - where the Home Office would not issue a visa unless the student has progressed
  • Programmes that could not cope with the additional resource/facilities implications of additional students – e.g. those with placements
  • Cases where it is essential for a student to have passed (as opposed to have taken) a pre-requisite module before starting the next part of their programme.
  • Progression from a Foundation programme to an Honours degree

Exemptions to the Regulation will be approved through QSC using the form which will be available on Workspace.

Reassessments with or Without Attendance

Rather than being at School discretion this will be a matter of student choice.*

A student may request to be allowed to repeat their enrolment in failed or incomplete modules (which will include attendance at all scheduled classes and submission of all coursework) before taking the reassessment or initial assessments.

Requests should be submitted to the student’s School who must consult other relevant Schools and, where the student is on a Tier 4 visa, the Visa and Immigration team, when making the decision. There may be occasions when it is not possible and in those circumstances Schools are able to reject such requests. Such reasons include where the module is not running in the relevant year, there are insurmountable capacity difficulties or where placements/attachments etc are not available without affecting the cohort that the student would be joining.

If a student opts to take any one reassessment with attendance, then they must take all due reassessments with attendance (except for modules where a repeat enrolment is not available).

A module specification may stipulate that in order for a student to be reassessed in that module, the student must repeat their enrolment.  In such circumstances, the student will not be compelled to take all reassessments in attendance and may take all other reassessments either in August/September or during the session when they are attending for the purpose of the module(s) that require attendance.

*For students studying in the UK on Tier 4 visas, there are limitations on Tier 4 immigration sponsorship which means that additional checks such as academic necessity, previous attendance and engagement and UKVI time limits will be considered in the decision making process.

Second reassessment opportunities

School discretion over the offering of a second reassessment opportunity has been removed and a student should be offered a second reassessment opportunity as a matter of course where they meet the existing criteria: 


(a) has passed at least 80 credits of modules in the stage, and (b) has an average of at least 40% across all modules in the stage. 

What do the changes mean?

If you are a student we hope that the FAQs section will answer any questions that you may have about what these changes mean for you. If you need further guidance, please contact your School/Department in the first instance.

If you are a member of staff, you may find the FAQs section helpful and further information relevant only to staff can be found on Workspace. Schools can obtain further guidance on these changes by e-mailing: ug-regulations@nottingham.ac.uk.


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